Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Can Be Lucky Too!

That's right!  I can be lucky too!

About a month ago, Becky from The Soap Sister discovered the amazing world of HP soaps and this wonderful almond fragrance from Essential Oil University.   She decided to share her new discoveries, and what better way to share than doing a fun giveaway!

Being someone who's never won anything in her life, I secretly lusted over her wonderful nutty goodies but never expected to win.   When I saw my name on her blog where she announced the winner, I actually double-checked to make sure that it wasn't someone else with the same name!  So thank you, Becky (and Becky's son) for this wonderful surprise! 

Now, after weeks of waiting, the goodies have finally arrived  (yes, it took that long to ship from the States to Canada..).   I have to say, the almond essential oil blend is amazing!  I was in love with it the moment I opened the box, and I couldn't believe how the scent actually stayed with the HP soap.  Even after so many weeks, it still smells delicious.

This soap is definitely one of the best I've ever showed with.  It lathers so well that it can silence anyone who claims that handmade soaps don't lather.  The specs of oatmeal are just another nice touch.  They gently exfoliate but never irritate my skin.  Another thing I love about this bar is its hardness.  The bar never turns soft and sticky after each shower.  All in all, a wonderful soap!

This perfume solid is flavored with the same amazing almond essential oil blend, but it not only smells nutty,  there's also a sweet note of honey from beeswax.   I like how it's in a small bottle so I can bring it with me wherever I go.  When I put it on, the scent always reminds me of almond biscotti!  I guess the only "bad" thing about this perfume solid is that it makes me crave for coffee all the time.

Last but not least, Almond Delight bath salts!

Again, it smells heavenly, best almond fragrance you can ask for.  I haven't had a chance to enjoy it yet, but I do plan to soak myself in a nice tub of hot water with these salts as soon as my exam is over.  I tell myself that this is going to be my reward for studying so hard.  I can just see myself relaxing in the tub with this delicious scent in the air while dumping out everything I've managed to cram into my head.

Thank you, Becky, for these great nutty goodies!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Biting More Than I Can Chew

September has been a busy month for me.

I started a new job, and I decided to go for a big exam at the end of the month.  Both the new job and the exam require lots and lots of studying, and I find myself wishing I was young again.  Oh how much we could learn when we were teenagers!

Having been an "executive personal assistant" to my hubby for many years, getting back to work while studying for a test has proven to be more time-consuming than I originally thought.  I miss taking my time to whip up a nice batch of soap, or testing out a new recipe from the latest magazine issue.

I made these  soap discs a while back, when I still lived in my previous place and had a very small fridge to store all my tallow.  In order to create my perfectly even layers, I opted to heat the soap in the oven (to speed up the hardening process) while I whipped up the next layer.

What I did not anticipate was how heat also expanded those tiny air pockets on the silicon surface.  Those tiny air bubbles gave these discs a sponge-looking texture, and I was so disappointed! I had to take one and run it under the tab to rub off that sponge-looking layer.   Now, that looks better.

I wonder if there's anyone out there who has also experienced the same "bubbling effect" when doing CPOP with silicon molds.. or is it just my mold?

Oh by the way...  Courtney, I still remember my promise to you!  I've postponed my stamp making date till sometime next month ( really need to catch up on all the reading I've managed to procrastinate).  Hopefully when things slowly settle down, I'll be able to sit down and make more stamps!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not So Pretty

Last weekend is a sad reminder for me that our flooring project has stretched from one long weekend to another - has it really been more than a month?

Hubby and I were so positive that everything would go as planned and we could have our living space back in less than 2 weeks.  Not quite so.   The contractor postponed twice and was impossible to track down.  We decided to go with someone else, and before we knew, we already wasted one month time waiting.

Now that the project has finally started to move ahead, albeit slow, we can at least dream of the day when everything is back to where it belongs.  We moved things out of our bedrooms (my soap room included) in order to work on flooring, and our living and dinning areas are filled with clutter.   I haven't been pleased with the sight, and I guess it shows in my soaps...

I tried swirling, but it didn't come out very pretty.  I tried to create a nice purple color, didn't happen either.  I wanted to give it a nice texture on top, but apparently I need a lot more practice.    But one comforting thing I love about soap making is, no matter how ugly the soap turns out, I know at the end of the day it's still a nice bar of soap I can enjoy in the shower.   Now all it takes is time to transform these babies into something wonderful!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stamping and Cutting

It's been a while since I last made my own soap stamps.  

I started a few projects but somehow never managed to finish them.   Don't you think that sometimes you just need "the right mood" to complete something from start to finish?

I made four stamps this time, two shown here (the words, and the border beneath them) and one shown in the photo below (the rose).  There are other designs I'd like to turn into stamps, but my neck got sore from looking down for hours, and I decided to leave them for next time.  Hopefully it won't be another 2 years.

This rose stamp is a little tricky to use, and I'm still learning the technique to create the best result.  I do find that timing is very important, as well as the soap formula.  But to make my life easier, I think I'll stick to simple lines next time!

I also found some time to make my own soap cutter.  Can you tell that the body / handle of the cutter is actually meant to go on a bag?  A friend of mine generously shared this with me, and the idea of a soap cutter immediately came to my mind.  I've been lusting for a wire soap cutter - really, the soap tool you don't have will always be the better one you have to get!  ;)

To turn this beautiful bag handle into a soap cutter, I simply drilled two holes on each end and used two screws to secure a fish wire.  Now, it might not the best soap cutter in the world, but it could as well be the best looking one!   

I tried using it a few days ago, and it cut through the log nicely.  Almost a little too nicely.  I find it hard to stick to a straight line because it cuts so smoothly that it goes stray when you're not looking.   Better come up with a way to keep my cuts straight....